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How long does a shoulder replacement last?

“How long will a shoulder replacement last?”

This is one of the first questions asked by patients who are considering a shoulder replacement, and for good reason. Nobody wants to undergo a surgery that will need to be redone in a short period of time. A standard shoulder replacement involves replacing the ball of the shoulder with a metal ball and covering the socket with a plastic socket. Historically, the plastic socket is the part of the replacement that tends to wear out and fail over time.

I advise patients that a standard shoulder replacement will last at least 15 years for the majority of patients. This is based on research publications such as one from the Mayo Clinic that found 93% of shoulder replacements lasted 10 years and 87% lasted 15 years. (For more information visit

Of course, some patients will be fortunate enough to have their replacement last for 30+ years, and others may find that their replacement fails sooner. Younger and more active patients may find that their replacement does not last as long. Research studies looking at patients under 55 years old have found that the replacements have a shorter life span. This is most likely because younger patients put more stress on their replacement through heavy lifting and a more active lifestyle.

Brad Carofino, MD Dr. Brad Carofino is a board-certified (American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery), fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder & upper extremity surgery. Dr. Carofino is an expert in shoulder replacement surgery, minimally invasive arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, and complex reconstructive procedures of the upper extremity.

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I enjoy sharing this story because it is a testament to patient's who are seeking a solution to shoulder arthritis who want to remain highly active. I am grateful for patients like Fred who give me the opportunity to improve their overall quality of life!